COVID-19. The virus that has abruptly silenced the entire world. The virus that has caused everything to come to a standstill. The virus that has influenced the way we view life. The infamous COVID-19 has significantly changed the way the Sha Tin College community goes about their daily lives. How exactly has school life and learning at Sha Tin College been impacted by the current COVID-19 situation?
Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, students of Sha Tin College have had to adapt to learning online. The Sha Tin College school schedule and system has changed throughout the past year. Since the start of Term 2 in January, the school has adopted a system where each year group returns to campus to learn face-to-face once a week on a half-day basis, and learns online through Zoom for the rest of the week.
Although it has been almost a year of online learning at Sha Tin College, many students have still encountered challenges while learning online. “Online learning has impacted our Year 12 experience in doing exams, since it’s difficult to do tests over Zoom, so we’ve lost valuable experience”, Victoria Wong (12X2) commented. “It’s also a lot harder to focus on Zoom – there’s always technical difficulties, or getting distracted by other things on your laptop, or not being able to engage in interactive learning like we can in school.”
Students at Sha Tin College have found learning face-to-face on-campus once a week very helpful, as it has allowed them to reconnect with their friends and learn in a more social environment. “I think that one of the biggest adversities I faced during [COVID-19] was that I was unable to see my peers and my beloved friends”, Mythili Shivkumar (10X2) remarked. When asked about her opinion on the system of learning face-to-face once a week, she replied, “I think that it’s quite refreshing to see your friends and enjoy the day at school even if it is so short.”
Learning on-campus has still presented many complications to students and teachers alike, due to the strict social distancing and hygiene measures that have been implemented. Collaborative work in class has become highly difficult to coordinate, as students and teachers have had to use a wide range of creative methods to work around the seemingly insurmountable challenge of social-distancing – and being separated through plexiglass barriers. Some of the school’s facilities, including the school swimming pool, have been closed, meaning that it has been harder for students to enjoy sports. Ms Parry reflected on how the closing of school facilities affected students. “One of the biggest challenges for me – and the PE Department – is the closure of school facilities”, she commented. “Many students have been wanting to play sports and unfortunately we’ve had to say no to that.”
Even though many of Sha Tin College’s most highly anticipated events have had to be cancelled, the school has prepared a wide range of new events that have kept everyone’s spirits high. Some of these events include the Regeneration competition that was introduced early in the school year, the “in school” sports day that was held in place of Sha Tin College’s usual sports day event, and most recently, the Chinese New Year Virtual Board Competition. After-school and lunchtime activities have also continued to run online through Zoom, which has allowed students to relax and enjoy doing the activities they love to do.
Students have found these school events and activities as a great opportunity to stay positive, interact with others and enjoy themselves. Madelyn Chin (8X2) remarked, “I was disappointed that [the Chinese New Year Virtual Board Competition] couldn’t be done in person,” she revealed, “but I am happy that at least [it was made into] a digital competition!” She then expressed her enthusiasm towards future school events. “I am excited for what future events our school will hold!” she shared.
Despite this school year being one full of ups and downs, all our students and teachers have bravely managed to overcome every adversity they have faced. It has tested the resilience of our community as a whole, and we are all very proud of the progress our school has made. This successful period of online learning would not have been made possible without the continual determination, persistence and hard work of all our students and teachers. We look forward to seeing what the rest of the school year holds for Sha Tin College!
By Amelie Chin (10X2)